Iowa’s rules of the road strive to keep drivers, pedestrians, truck drivers, construction crews, and anyone who uses the interstates as safe as possible. When you come to a right turn and get into an accident, though, what do those rules say about crash liability? Who, in turn, can you hold financially responsible for your right-turn auto accident losses?
According to Iowa law, the reality varies. You must bring forward evidence of another party’s negligence and, sometimes, illegal behavior if you want to demand that they pay you for your losses. You can make this process simpler by working with Iowa’s car accident lawyers. Berry Law can represent your best interests if you choose to make a case for accident damages.
Right on Red Laws in Iowa
Iowa outlines its laws regarding turning right on red in Motor Vehicle and Law of the Road section 321.257(a). This section states that all parties at an intersection must come to a stop if the light is “a steady circular red.” The statute goes on to say:
“Vehicular traffic shall remain standing until a signal to proceed is shown, or vehicular traffic, unless prohibited by a sign, may cautiously enter the intersection to make a right turn from the right lane of traffic or another lane designated for right turns, or a left turn from a one-way street to a one-way street from the left lane of traffic or another lane designated for left turns.”
The statute goes on to say that any turns that interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic can be considered unlawful, particularly if those turns result in dangerous accidents. In other words, drivers in Iowa may turn right on red at intersections unless they are prohibited to do so by area signage or if doing so might endanger the people around them.
When Can Parties Assume Liability for Right on Red Accidents?
Who, then, assumes liability for an intersection accident after a driver turns right on red? That still depends on the circumstances that led to the accident. For example, if a driver had the legal right to turn right on red and a pedestrian carelessly ran into the street, that pedestrian may be liable for the accident that follows.
Comparatively, drivers who turn right on red despite warning signs or regardless of danger can assume responsibility for any losses they cause. If you want to determine whether or not another driver bears the blame for your recent right-turn accident, you need to bring forward evidence of that party’s unreasonable and negligent behavior.
Can a Criminal Violation Impact Your Right to a Personal Injury Claim?
Criminal violations on which the state opts to act won’t impact your right to a personal injury claim, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t impact whether you win damages in your case. If Iowa convicts the driver responsible for your right-turn accident of deliberate roadway misconduct, you can submit that conviction to a civil judge.
That criminal conviction specifically constitutes proof of negligence in civil court. While proof of negligence can’t guarantee your right to compensation, it makes a compelling case when it comes time for you to argue that the at-fault driver’s negligence actively violated the duty of care owed to you.
Unfortunately, you can’t initiate a criminal case against an offending party, though you may be called to testify in such a case. Instead, only the state and its prosecutors can bring a traffic violation case to criminal court. You can, however, ask our attorneys to keep an ear out for criminal summons. We can then track the progress of the case and keep you up to date.
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How to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Right-Turn Auto Accident
While you can’t take criminal action against the party that caused your right-turn accident, you can take your losses before a civil judge. So long as you have the evidence you need to establish liability, you can use that evidence to argue that the liable party owes you compensation for your losses.
The complaint you file with a civil judge should specifically outline the duty of care owed to you and the ways in which the at-fault party violated that duty. You can also outline the economic impact the accident has had on your finances before demanding compensation for accident-related losses.
Make sure you submit your claim before Iowa’s personal injury statute of limitations, Iowa Code section 614.6, expires. Iowa’s civil courts can overturn your attempt to pursue legal action if you try to pursue a claim any more than two years after your initial right-turn accident.
Berry Law Can Stand With You
Berry Law represents Iowa residents in need of compensation after dangerous accidents. If you were hit by a driver who neglected the state’s right-turn laws, you can request that our team help you file a personal injury claim. That claim can win you the compensation you need to pay the bills generated by another driver’s roadway misconduct.
Don’t wait any longer to take legal action. Call Berry Law or contact us through our website to schedule your free case consultation today.